Tag Archives: digital nomad income

Will my digital nomad income be enough?

How do you make money after leaving your corporate job to be a nomad? JoburgRudolph gives some insight into;

Digital Nomad Income in your pocket
Digital Nomad Income in your pocket

Passive, Residual and Freelancing Digital Nomad Income.

I’m not sure if I am the most typical digital nomad. At 39, most nomads are younger and don’t have as many years of working in corporate behind them. Those years in corporate and a freakish obsession with real estate investment have given me a nice passive income buffer.

But, even with less income from investments, it really is possible to make ends meet as a digital nomad. You’ll just have to rely more heavily on freelancing and residual income. Nomadic You has you covered; Find a marketable skill you are good at and improve your skill with our post on Remote Working All in one for Dummies.

Remote Working All in one for Dummies

To show how all of this can be done in practice, here are my seven multiple income streams for 2017;

Passive Income

The IRS defines passive income as coming from rental activity or trade in which you do not materially participate. I probably don’t have enough share investments as part of my passive income. But, these are my three main passive income sources

#1 Furnished Holiday Letting Cape Town

Cape Town is a hugely popular tourist destination. I am so glad I purchased an apartment in Cape Town for holiday letting. The capital growth has been tremendous. If you choose wisely you can expect to earn around 13% per annum on your investment.

#2 Unfurnished Residential Letting Johannesburg

Cape Town property gets more expensive by the day. Property in Johannesburg is much cheaper though. I earn around 10% per annum on my investment for unfurnished letting. But if business activity improves, I may consider furnished letting to corporates for their employees.

#3 Interest Income

In most countries interest rates are so low that living off interest from your investments is not viable. In South Africa however, you can earn above 7% per annum on a 32 day notice deposit.

Residual Income

Being a landlord can be tricky and freelancing gigs are quite time consuming. Residual income is a good alternative; where you create an asset like a book, a patent or a song and collect royalties for many happy years thereafter.

#4 “Escaping Corporate” Book

Now that I’ve left corporate I am researching all my digital nomad and downshifting options. And turning this into an e-book that I expect to publish in April.

#5 Nomadic You Affiliate Income

The articles that form the basis of my “Escaping Corporate” book form the basis for the Nomadic You website. I’m not too keen on adding Google Ads to the website. But with an increase in visits to the website, there is good potential for affiliate income.

Freelancing Income

In my first couple of months outside corporate I studied “Big Data” and did some data analysis for a company that manufacturers snacks. There is a lot of buzz about data analysis being a career of the future. But, I regret studying big data. Only the largest of corporates have the scale to analyze data in real time. In my opinion, if you want to escape corporate, studying big data is not the best option.

Instead, inspired by writing my own e-book and helping my brother publishing his book on philosophy, I’ll be focusing my freelancing efforts on these two;

#6 Social Media Marketing Cat and Keyboard

I have learned new skills working with WordPress and doing social media marketing for my Nomadic You blog. I’m already doing social media marketing for an editing and manuscript evaluation blog called Cat and Keyboard.

#7 e-Book Cover Design

Several Shaw Academy Digital Marketing, Graphic design and Photoshop diplomas later, I’m feeling confident to start helping other self-publishing authors with their e-book covers. I’m finding Photoshop to be a lot of fun and quite addictive!

@NomadicYou What are the best ways to earn some Digital Nomad Income? How many freelancing gigs do you juggle?

Off to the beach with remote working

How are netrepreneurs remote working to finance their exotic lifestyles? Is e-commerce, passive income or residual income best?

Remote working from the beach www.nomadicyou.com
Remote working from the beach www.nomadicyou.com

If you already have a hit single that will earn you royalties for the rest of your days and conveniently even more after death, then no need to read any further. For the rest of us who dream of being digital nomads, the most obvious concern is: How to finance this new exotic lifestyle? After all, opting to be nomadic likely means leaving that cozy desk job. And if you don’t yet have a thriving online business, then the leap from desk to Davao is intimidating indeed.


The good news is that, according to eMarketer, worldwide e-commerce growth is expected to more than double from $1,915 trillion in 2016 to $4.058 trillion in 2020. That is a lot of money, with plenty of opportunities to find your niche. You may choose to be a netrepreneur selling one of the following:

Products; Something non-perishable and not too heavy and bulky works best. From gadgets to garments, internet consumers love the convenience of shopping in their pajamas.

Services; Make your web design skills available on Elance, fiverr or Upwork. Other skills that are in demand include logo design, infographics, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and setting up WordPress websites.

Information; Got a unique outlook on the world that others are keen to hear about? Then have the masses come and read your content and use Google AdWords and affiliate income to get some funds into that PayPal account.


Those freelancing gigs will keep you quite busy; although the advertisements on your website will earn you money whilst you sleep. There is much to be said for passive income, like Google AdWords, that gives you more time to enjoy life on the road.  It is well worth then looking at some old-school sources of passive income too.

Since you won’t be using your apartment while travelling the world, homeowners can consider making income from rent. Sadly, screening tenants is not an exact science. So, best to have a buffer fund for late payments or emergency repairs. Not the most fun, this landlord gig. But having some bricks and mortar will be worth the hassle in the end; especially if property prices in your city are on the up.


Better than online gigs and being a landlord by far, is residual income. Where you create an asset like a book, a patent or a song and collect royalties for many happy years thereafter. That will leave lots of time for play. Try as I might, I still haven’t discovered my inner Beyoncé. Besides all the good lyrics are already taken; Wuh uh oh uh uh oh. All taken, oh no.

Publishing your own ebook is probably the easier of the options. Writing skills, unlike rhythm, can be taught. Plus, a life of travel should spark many a creative idea. Try self-publishing your ebook on Amazon with help from an editor or two. Then, once your ebook has garnered some decent interest, a publisher could be persuaded to put it in print.


The mind boggles with all these income options on the road. “But how much money is enough?” Numbeo.com is a great place to get some answers on budgeting. Numbeo relies on user submitted data to calculate the cost of living for hundreds of cities across the globe. Try checking the cost of accommodation, transport and food in your city. Like me, I’m sure you’ll find their data is quite accurate.

For all the data nerds, the cost of living index is worth a look. Cheapest of all the global cities is Bangalore in India. Amazingly, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant can be had for S1.79 and a 1-bedroom apartment outside the city center costs a silly $126.32 per month. Who would have thought that there is a vibrant city in the world where a single person can live on $308.13 per month?


Sure, Bangalore is an extreme example of cheap travel. But other affordable cities can be found too with a bit of research. Your largest travel expenditure is likely to be transport, accommodation, markets and restaurants. Slow-travel will give you the best shot at keeping your monthly costs down. Take fewer flights by staying in a country as long as your visa allows. Look out for 28-days discounts on AirBnB, thereby allowing you to stay in one city long enough to get a monthly transit pass. Depending on the city (I hear dining in Chiang Mai is dirt cheap) having accommodation with some cooking facilities can help the budget too. How much luxury can you live without?

Now, how does one resist the urge to be a digital nomad, when confronted with facts like that? Earning enough money on the road is achievable. The smartest digital nomads have multiple income streams and dabble in residual income to have more time for play. But I have a hunch that income might not be the largest deterrent to choosing this lifestyle after all.

Habit may be a larger foe still: Many are used to that air-conditioned cubicle and predictability. It’s comforting to be surrounded by an apartment full of familiar objects. Your routine. The way first-world drivers can drive a hundred yards without hooting. It’s easier to dismiss being a digital nomad as financially unachievable, even though not true.

@nomadicyou What are the best ways to earn money on the road; e-commerce, blogging, vlogging or publishing? #nomadincome